The amount of U.S. farmland owned by foreign investors has doubled in the past few decades to close to 30 million acres, according to NPR.
Foreign entities general acquire large swaths of American land during recessions -- when domestic investors are less active.
There are no federal laws on the purchase of land by foreigners, which means that ownership regulations vary widely from state to state.
Jurisdictions like Texas and Ohio, on the one hand, have no foreign ownership restrictions. In Iowa, where land acquisition is highly regulated, no land is owned by overseas entities, says Ohio Farm Bureau's Ty Higgin.
Close to half a million acres of prime farmland is held by foreign-controlled entities in Ohio Netherlands-based companies recently bought 64,000 acres for wind farms in the northern part of the state.
Foreign ownership is raising concerns among some in the farming industry, who worry other countries are “extracting wealth” form their communities, and that foreign-owned land may never return to U.S. hands.
Absent a change in regulations, foreign ownership is poised to keep increasing, as a large swath of farmers goes into retirement. According to the National Young Farmers Coalition, close to 66 percent of the nation's farmland will change hands in the next decades.